When I started in the corporate video business in 1993, I was a kid right out of college. There were already a handful of established companies in the space that were successfully doing what I was trying to do. At that time, the investment in production and editing equipment was quite hefty. If you could imagine, entry level production and editing gear at that time would cost upwards of $40,000. This was a big inhibitor for young startups to get their feet wet in the business.
Being a kid out of college, coming up with that kind of startup money just didn’t seem possible. The question became, how can I produce quality productions, make a profit and at the same time distinguish myself from the competition? The answer to me became cost. I was going to find a way to deliver a superior product at a fraction of the cost of the competition. So, I hit the phones and worked hard everyday networking and trying to pick up new projects. By keeping over-head down, hiring crews on a per project basis and by being a pioneer in digital editing, I was going to undercut and crush the competition, right? - Wrong.
I was having success getting through to the right people and getting the opportunity to bid on projects but when I heard from a potential client at a large retail chain, “I have a few bids here and yours is $10,000 less than the next lowest. What’s wrong?” I quickly learned that price alone was not going to distinguish me from the competition. No matter how much I tried to convince that gentleman that I could do the job better than anyone and at that price, he cordially apologized and went with a hirer bid. It was quite crushing and confusing and not the last time I learned something like that.
I needed to reassess. I spent time analyzing the competition and I began questioning potential clients to find out what they like and don’t like about the production companies they work with. Things I heard were: They loved the quality but the process of working with the production company was a nightmare; the price was good but it looked like a wedding video; deadlines were missed, they showed up in ripped jeans to film the CEO and it was embarrassing, the video looked great but the message was all wrong; they were stubborn and refused to make our changes.
It became clear that it wasn’t about price to everyone. If that were true, Mercedes wouldn’t sell cars. I realized that in order to distinguish myself from the competition, price alone wasn’t going to do it. When it comes to producing a creative product being used in a corporate setting, it’s about multiple factors. Price could be a factor but it’s also about quality, reliability, relationship, service, expertise and delivering an impactuful message in a creative, brand-right way. This is where I began to focus and this is when business took off.
Now, I’ve been at it for twenty-plus years and I’m no longer the new kid on the block (although I still look fantastic. Ha ha!). As a matter of fact, there are more production companies out there than ever these days and quality video gear that would have cost me tens of thousands of dollars in 1993 is now accessible to school kids for hundreds of dollars. With the competition fierce, I find that the youngins starting out in this business are making the same initial mistake I made. They are focusing on price and not client, project, creativity, quality and message. This is always what distinguished me from the competition and this is what continues to distinguish me from the competition in this flooded market. My clients appreciate the experience I bring to the table along with the service and quality I provide., They have the confidence that when they hire me, it will be done on time, on budget, the message will be right and it will be done without headaches. This is important because when a client hires me, their job and reputation is on the line and I don’t disappoint. As proof, I’ve worked and continue to work with brands such as Brooks Brothers, Tiffany & Company, Tumi, The Children’s Place, Party City, Polo Ralph Lauren, Guess, Clinique, Redken, Rusk, FAO Schwarz and Journeys Stores. A complete list of clients can be found at http://video-productions.com/clients/ and if you would like to take a look at some of the awesome projects I’ve worked on, a few can be found here – http://video-productions.com/videos/